A Rozy View on Life

I am John Rozelle, hear me ROAR like a dinosaur!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

FIRE (From the Archives)

It seemed to be a normal day. I was handing out English Workshop fliers with Jason and Nate (part of the summer team here in Croatia for 5 weeks) in front of the “Pomorski” faculty. At one point, the trash dumpster directly behind us began to smoke. From our deduction, we determined that a Croatian had thrown a still lit cigarette butt in the dumpster and had set some trash on fire. It was not really a “fire,” but was causing some light smoke to come from it trash receptacle.
We continued to pass out fliers as the dumpster smoked, assuming that at any moment the smoke would cease. After about 10 minutes of this, we decided that perhaps closing the dumpster lid would decrease oxygen intake to the “fire” and therefore cause the “fire” to diminish. Sounded like good logic to me.

Allow me to note that many Croatians (students and civilians) passed by, noting the smoke and carrying on with their normal routine. I felt that if anyone should attempt to remedy the situation, it should be a national. It seemed that it would be slightly odd for an American to enter the college faculty, asking in English, “Could I get a bucket of water, the trash can is smoking.”
After about another 5-10 minutes of the dumpster being closed and smoke continuing to seep out of the dumpster cracks, we decided that the contents of the dumpster may be becoming too hot and that a better plan of action would now be to open the dumpster to let it cool off. Upon opening the dumpster a literal plethora of smoke billowed from the trash can, and this process continued for much longer that we had anticipated.

After the initial billowage, which we expected to be the only release of smoke, smoke continued to pour out far beyond what our wildest imaginations could conceive.
I decided at this point, I should run up to my apartment (which was near), and get a pot of water to pour on the smoldering smoke heap. Once I got to my apartment, as I filled the pot, I looked out of my apartment to see that the billowing smoke heap had now turned into a raging inferno in the dumpster. Flames shot out of the can, two feet above its lid. My mission to put out this fire became much more important that I previously thought. I ran down the 3 flights of stairs, spilling water out of my measly pot, optimistically thinking one little pot of water would actually make a difference in this now raging dumpster blaze.
As I exited my apartment, the intersecting street was now filled with smoke, evidence that this fire was now out of control. A police car drove past the fire, all four members viewing the smoky spectacle. “Oh relief, the help I need to fight this fire,” I thought to myself. Upon this thought, the police continued to drive by, and I realized it was up to me to combat the forces of dumpster conflagration that raged nearby.
I ran to the dumpster as onlookers watched, and strategically poured my little pot of water on the fire. Surprisingly, my little pot put the flames out, at which I felt great satisfaction. “I’d better go fill up another pot just to make sure,” I thought to myself.
I again went to my apartment, and as I looked out my window, I saw that my previous dousing only temporarily provided a solution to the fire which now raged with more intensity than before. The fire had even burned a hole in the thick plastic dumpster, and flames exuded from this newly created opening. My solo effort to put out this fire not only became more important, but also more urgent. I ran down the stairs, spilling more water from my little pot than before, and exited my apartment to an even more smoke filled street than previously. I ran to the dumpster, now a blaze of glory, flames shooting out the top and from the hole.
As I approached the dumpster, I heard the sound of a siren. Yes, the firemen were now near. I stepped back to allow the professionals to do their work, at which time they dispensed a stream of water from their fire hose.

After a minute or two of trash can dousing, these firemen’s job was complete. Or so they thought.

I was the one who started this firefighting effort, and I would be the one to end it. I stood there with a still unused pot of water, as three firemen stood around the dumpster with their job complete. Nate dared me to walk up the dumpster, and nonchalantly pour the final pot of water on the dumpster, as if their efforts had been unsuccessful. Desiring to finish the job I started, I calmly walked over to the dumpster, and as I began the dumpster dousing, I ended it. Thanks for your efforts firemen, but I really had the situation under control.

Your Volunteer Fire-Fighter,

Johnny Hrvatski


  • At 1:10 PM, Anonymous Michelle said…

    Those are great pics. of the fire...I wish there was one of you when you heroically dumped the pot of water on the fire after it was out...:-)

  • At 9:41 PM, Blogger Matt Mikalatos said…

    This is the funniest and perhaps most beautiful thing I have heard all day. Can I be on your team? Your fire-fighting team? Please?

  • At 1:58 PM, Blogger Danielle Warren said…

    you're so funny! Thanks for the laughs.

  • At 9:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    John, I am really worried about you. There have been no reports of the current death toll and no new firefighting episodes. Are you okay or have the enemy ants taken you hostage?

    Mama Warren in Boise, Idaho


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